Let's start with anthropology 101... you may think that reality is important, not only important, but universal. You might think that there are such things as facts, and explanations, and rational discourse... and you might find them self-evident and universal.
Well.. I am sorry to disappoint you: science, precisely, demonstrated some decades ago that all these things you hold dear are not at all universal, even less self-evident, and all depend on a structural mythology (mythology in the sense of absolute truth which is not questioned - as the "Greek" or the "Roman or "the Western" mythology - because it can not be questioned, not in the sense of "something false") that one learns as a child. For a long period of time and in other large cultural areas other wonderful mythologies and other ways to look at the world existed.. some of them, I must say, much more interesting and probably "truer" than our humble "enlightenment mythology structure". Yes my fella, this is the name it is given to the set of narratives, concepts and structures that describe our vision of the world in this part of the blogosphere. The existence of facts, its relation with something called "reality", its relation with rational and logical discourse... and so on. We also have other mythologies, but let's not talk about sex, gender, politics, religion, love, feelings, family or spatial attributes now (although on spatial attribute you must know that right is right, left is wrong, and up is good, and down -as defeat- is bad).
After the enlightenment mythology spread like the plague some centuries ago (oh, the good times), the magic world, unfortunately, was pushed outside of the world center completely. Science was on one side- religion and magic were on the other side. This awful mistake produced centuries later a disaster that noone could foresee (Well, actually Marx could foresee it... pity he did not know what to do about it): the elites rebelled, they wanted more money, more power and to have more people at their service. Of course, that produces a few economic problems... plus some people might be pissed off at being semi-slave again... plus, well it is not easy to do a rebellion.
And what did those nice elite guys decide to do? Well, study science... and hard. They realised that enlightenment was really a problem. If enlightenment is too robust, people would immediately kill them all. It is/was absolutely necessary to change the main narratives of enlightenment. Facts, tentative explanations, theorems, theories, experiment, conclusions, hypotheses, guesses were concepts that one should play with/distort. More importantly, complete false structures (sets of narratives with common base) in any particular field should be created, at any cost. More precisely, at the cost of buying academic positions in history and economics. It was a smart move... creating false narratives in physics or chemistry after the A-Bomb and nuclear power would have been crazy. Economists not so much. Nobody took them seriously in the other areas of scientific knowledge.
False debates were pushed and money was injected. It was extremely important to create parallel worlds with these guys and this money. "Other/new" facts and "other/new" laws should appear. But "our" laws and "our facts". And these laws and facts had to be something "like the enlightenment ones"... but, you know, not really.
And in what was really a master stroke, they joined this wonderful parallel universe with religious narratives and connotations. They both allied and soon we had the wonderful Milton Friedman creating a parallel economic universe based on moral religious/protestant white foundations (together with some insight on monetary policy... which is not really that important, ask Japan for details). Soon we had a moral scale where the rich could do no wrong. Soon we had a caste system where those related with God where the ones anointed. Soon we had that the rich in 21st century were like the rich in the 3rd century, namely, those related with empire control and with God.
And what did the enlightenment forces do? Nothing.. of course.. because we are so smart and so intelligent that we all knew that facts are self-evident...Self-evident, my ass!!!
The problem is that we are all fancy academic types, and researchers and cofuckers. We, mostly, have not a fuck*** idea about science.. we have became so narrow-minded in our scientific interests that we can no longer tell a nice tale explaining our general field of research, even less create an encompassing narrative about the world. Even worse, we could hardly utter a coherent philosophical view... or a coherent scientific world-view. In summary, we could not
create a magic-myth defining ourselves, because you know "story-telling" and "grasping/enjoying your own imagination" is so "guru-hippie" that "good" scientists never do it (DarkSyde, we love you). Idiots.
People trying to scream out loud that enlightenment is not self-evident were trying to create NARRATIVES to create strong magic-science supporters, and of course they were ridiculed. If you tried to say that science is not self-evident you could forget your money. For a while we had Carl Sagan... and Isaac Asimov... even the nerds had respect for them.. after all they probably became scientists because of them (do you get it now stupid academic nerd?) for a while we had some heroes fighting alone... but then they disappeared...
And guess what we have now...We lost. A small set of structures and people (as Mead would say) is trying to fight the invasion of conventional crap wisdom, nerdy narrative punditocracy and the like... Even worse, some academic people still did not wake up... they still believe that the other side is playing a little bit with the numbers, but at the end of the day they are enlightenment guys like us... And if you doubt it.. ask P. Krugman what to think about some of their economists fellas at Krugman's NYT blog!
And now, let's move from theory to example. A basic look at the numbers which a basic decent economist would do, will tell you that the US is in a big mess right now. Krugman and Atrios and Berkeley's Brad have wonderful blogs where they explain in detail how the lack of regulation, the asymmetric capture of wealth and the lack of infrastructure in the US can (already has) become a nightmare. They have predicted the bust before the "very serious people".. and they were punished. They are now pushing for reforms, for Keynesian policies, to discuss options, including political options... But, dear fellas, enlightenment is not strong nowadays. So it really does not matter. Good discussion does not matter. Facts are transformed into hypotheses. And opinions into facts. The important thing is to sell the US model at all costs... even when it could collapse at any other minute if they do not start Rooseveltian-scale reforms.
So, what is the media (yes one day we have to talk at length about the media as an echo-chamber of right-wing narratives, how the Right became a master of propaganda by studying symbolic anthropology and structural analysis very hard, but another day) controlled by the twist-and-shout boys doing? Pushing and pushing and pushing narrative after narrative to reinforce the already neo-capitalist American myth where the market is basically a god in direct talks with THE WHITE MALE GOD we all love to kill homosexuals with.
And one of their narratives now is that not the US, but Europe, is the one which is doomed... "Europe.is.so.doomed" is the official brilliant name that Jerome (the master of deconstruction) gave to it, kudos. [EDIOR'S NOTE - DoDo: it was originated by ThatBritGuy.]
But narratives have soft spots. They can be attacked if they have no internal coherence. Think of the economic crap coming from the US media as a film (it is really exactly the same thing). In a film, there is no problem if a nice big-tit blonde says to her lover "what a wonderful sunny day" while outside it is dark and night. Yes, it is really not a problem. You can interpret the film as if she is talking symbolically, or that she is insane, or that it is a metaphor (think about singing in the rain and you get the idea). So reality has nothing to do with narrative. Any reality can be perfectly adapted to any narrative. So, do not doubt that if a US crash were to happen, they could explain it out and say that US "libruls" did, or that nasty pink Europeans did it or forced us. You may think it is a long shot but I think I just have to say "torture" to make you think about how everything can be explained out and distorted. Torture used to be an awful thing, a common position in our culture. Now it is debatable. Soon, only "left-wing wackos" would defend that torture should be illegal.
So what was the soft spot of a narrative again? Internal coherence. The narrative must have internal coherence. The same blonde girl CAN NOT say "what a lovely sunny day, it is so dark outside".... this would be a mistake, the same girl can not think or say the same and the opposite thing at the same instant. Luckily Anthropology 101 shows this is universal (or almost). You can say completely contradictory things at different times, but not at the same time. This is the only way we have to generate converts to the enlightenment movement.
In other words, only when a statement or discourse is in direct contradiction with itself and immediate reality can we reach the guys at the other side of our enlightenment narrative/mythology. But we have to reach them, otherwise, they will forget.
And Oh-my-God they were close to reaching that point the other day, so let's use it to expand our base of enligthenites...here is the story:
Spain is a member of the Europe is doomed club (we reelected center-sane economic policymakers, this is clearly a sin) and the fact is that Spain has really a lot of serious, serious problems... basically the economy has been based on construction for too long. A housing boom was generated, enriching the few and sending housing prices through the roof. Luckily, it stopped, and our growth has been diminished since then to a mere 2% (only four times bigger than the US'). Luckily, and you cannot imagine how luckily, the Spanish banking practices in the mortgage sector are superb. The control mechanism from the Spanish Central Bank (a branch of the ECB) is strong. The number of defaults is minimal. So, despite the housing crisis, Spanish banks are in better shape than any other banking system, any American banking institution included. So now, Spain "only" has to worry about relocating the jobs outside house construction and hope that oil-inflation does not get out of control. But, hey, we do not have a financial meltdown.
And this can not be. This is a fact which must be eliminated/explained away. Problem is, how do they fight it? Tricky, Spanish bankers are powerful people, you can not go around mocking them without expecting a counter-attack. So the best way was to forget that there are countries which did not DO THE CRAZY STUFF the oligarchs do in the US.
In the US getting millions of dollars as a reward for bankrupting your own company is a MUST. Promoting neo-capitalism and then begging for socialist measures to save your own ass is a MUST. And then mocking the poor black guy which is poor because "he/she" does not have personal responsibility is a MUST. Full display of disgusting HYPOCRISY is a MUST. Gold rich criminals sitting in CEO administration cracking jobs at the middle class is a MUST.
But then, the Europe.is.doomed narrative came to the rescue. Spain must be doomed... but how can they can be doomed if they have the best mortgage practices in town.. mmmhhhh.. IMF nerd to the rescue: a so-called "economist" called Simon Johnson (no name-calling please, I know it is tempting) in the IMF had this to say about Spain:
"At this moment, the lack of a sophisticated mortgage market in Spain will soften the impact of the crisis... the effects of the economic slow-down in the housing sector will be lower than in the US, given that Spain does not have the "advanced" mortgage instruments that exist in the financial heart of the world"
ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME? No, this is standard procedure. They were the best, they are still the best. This is a very basic story-telling called "once in a while the stupid gets lucky" because he is stupid. So, poor Spain.. and lucky Spain, Spain is full of completely retarded people who can not create an advanced mortgage system threatening the whole economy. They are really so retarded. Pity them!!!! Lucky now, but do not come pretending you are anything but retarded people.
But, of course, that was not all. A right-wing-nut narrative can not have that name if the art of jiu-jitsu is not introduced. So, here it comes, the great Roberto Cardarelli, an "expert in the IMF about the topic" or a craptocrat as I call them:
"The Spanish mortgage house market walks towards the US model, but Spain should not stop this development. It will be a huge mistake, because financial innovation is something good. It will be like closing the flight industry because the first planes crashed"
oh, man they are good at metaphors,... like closing the flight industry.. he is so good, so full of himself... So, what should the flight proto-industry have done when all the planes crashed... I know!!! Start building planes like cars hoping that once in a while one will not crash? What the hell are you talking about? He is extremely close to internal incoherence. Innovation is both like planes crashing, and like a wonderful good industry? But if everything is so wizard of Oz wonderful, why do the planes crash? I have an idea about a very innovative plane!!! Why not a plane without WINGS!! I bet we can save a lot of money in the production process!!
Besides the lack of any personal ethics or the delusional nature of the so-called "experts", I personally think that if we add these two pieces of crap together, we can convert some people to our cause. It is quite clear that they lack internal coherence. You can confidently claim that they live in a parallel universe where up is down and down is up, where good mortgage practices are considered old and bad just because they are not awful practices. Where you just say "new" and "innovative" to cover for "crazy" and "moronic". One can not defend one thing and the opposite at the same time without risking losing followers of your cause.
I hope I convinced someone. If you are all convinced... reproduce at will to convince at will. Remember, they are not crazy, they know the fight and they will use everything at their disposal... even if they have to sound insane for a while.